English rule costs Gavin Henson tour spot as Wales pick Matthew Morgan

 

Gavin Henson’s hopes of reviving his international career this summer effectively disappeared when he was denied the chance to showcase his talents in front of head coach Warren Gatland and his staff in Friday’s first senior Wales trial match for 14 years.

Gatland has since named a 32-man squad to tour South Africa. It will be captained by lock Alun Wyn Jones and includes four uncapped players: backs Matthew Morgan, Jordan Williams, Steven Shingler and Gareth Davies.

Henson, who last played for Wales just before the 2011 World Cup, missed the trial because Premiership Rugby,  the umbrella organisation for England’s top 12 clubs, does not release non-English players for games that fall outside International Rugby Board match windows.

The trial match, in which the Probables crushed the Possibles 55-7, took place outside the window and was not a Test match. Asked if his unavailability had told against the 32-year-old Henson (who was originally named in the Probables squad), head coach Gatland said: “Absolutely it did. We had not seen him play a lot, and he needed to be able to play [on Friday] if he was to be considered. ”

While Henson will ruefully reflect on what might have been, the 22-year-old Morgan forced his way into Gatland’s squad on the strength of a blistering performance as a half-time substitute for the Possibles, thrilling  a capacity 20,000 Liberty Stadium crowd with some scintillating touches.

“He went on, the game opened up and he lit the place up,” Gatland added. “He has played a lot at No 10, but we feel full-back gives him a bit more time and space on the ball. You have to exploit the ability he has when the game breaks up.

“You can only pick on what you see. Selection is a matter of opinion, and I have been through that in the last year or so, where people have disagreed with me, and I know how tough it is.

“But he came on and made a big impact. As it was, he was the most dangerous player on the field during that period, so you have got to sit up and take notice. He was one of the last names added to the squad, but he deserved it.”

Several players, including Sam Warburton, Leigh Halfpenny, Scott Williams, Richard Hibbard and Justin Tipuric, will miss the tour because of injury, and Samson Lee, the Scarlets prop, could now join them. Three players exited the trial because of injury: Lee (wrist), centre Jamie Roberts (shoulder) and hooker Ken Owens (knee). Lee’s problem, however, appears the most serious.

Wales fly to South Africa on Thursday. Their opening game is against the Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth on 10 June, while the Springboks await in Durban (14 June) and Nelspruit (21 June).

Wales squad: Forwards: Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Paul James (Bath), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Matthew Rees (Cardiff Blues), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (capt, Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Perpignan), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro), Taulupe Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), Dan Baker (Ospreys). Backs: Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhodri Williams (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), James Hook (Perpignan), Steven Shingler (Scarlets), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro), Cory Allen (Cardiff Blues), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), George North (Northampton Saints), Jordan Williams (Scarlets), Matthew Morgan (Ospreys), Liam Williams (Scarlets).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen